Cover Image: Girl in the Walls

Girl in the Walls

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Member Reviews

Girl in the Walls is an original and entertaining take on the gothic, in effect a story of confinement and strange events - the hallmark of gothic - told mostly from the point of view of the monster.

Not that it IS a ghost story - for the most part it's rooted very much in reality and the natural (although Gnuse's dreamy, philosophical prose blurs the divide between the natural and the weird). But to the family who share a house with Elise, she might as well be a ghost. Those traces of her presence - are they imagined or real? Even as she pursues her everyday life in the place she regards as home, the house she grew up in - eating, sleeping, watching TV, the only constraint being never to get caught by the family - they become increasingly uneasy, suspicious, listening for creaks or footfalls or for objects out of place, as you do when your house is haunted.

Elise's house is set in an ordinary suburb in a Louisiana city. It's subject to summer hear and to winter storms, and the idea family who dwell there do all the ordinary things - they go to school or to work, they attempt to fix up the rambling, over large place, they (especially the two teenage boys) bicker and ignore one another. Eddie, the younger child, is presented as a bit different, secretive, introspective, not- rather than un- social. His elder brother Marshall thinks he's a freak, and the pressure of dealing with the absence that Elise's presence creates adds to the strain of that. Eddie knows he is growing up, but he finds it hard to be in the gap between recent childhood and... whatever comes next. The growing and developing relationship between the boys was one of the great things in this book, as was Gnuse's ability to see the world through the eyes of a lonely and frightened eight year old girl - yes, that's Elise, hiding in the walls because she has nothing else but at the same time, unable to leave the house simply because she might find she has nothing. So long as she can convince herself that outside, all is well, and not allow herself to see the truth contradicting that, she's OK. Sort of.

But that kind of bubble can't last forever. There are forces moving beyond the walls of the house that threaten Elise. Human forces, and natural forces. The frightening denouement to the novel sees her face those threats, and survival will mean translating them into the reality of a young child who holds conversations in her head with Thor and relies on a scant few rescued possessions to connect her with her former life.

The conclusion to this novel is therefore dramatic and thrilling, the earlier part in contrast almost dreamlike, as it meditates on the paradox of being fully in and of in a place but not acknowledged or known there. There's an impressive balance between those two aspects, the more so because we, as readers of this book, will see all the ways that things might go wrong - apart from anything else Elise as a growing child won't fit between the walls for ever - even more so than she does. 

That conclusion leaves us with a little thrill of doubt and uncertainty, as befits such a mysterious occupant of a house that turns out to be, in a sense, liminal, unfinished, accommodating people who are passing through but never quite make their mark. There is no neat tying up of loose ends, only hints. 

Intriguing throughout, frightening in places, this is a book that builds up a deep bond with its characters - even Eddie's brother - and will leave you looking over your shoulder if you read it late and night by the fireside...
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Loved this. It's completely different to anything I've read before and so I found it difficult to put down. I just had to know what was going to happen next with Elise. I was hoping the family would find her and adopt her but the story twisted and turned and  I couldn't predict what was going to happen.
A solid story with a great ending.
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I really liked the setting and the story, however something seemed a little flat. Whilst, I can understand Elise's motives, I don't feel the sentiment behind her actions.
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Elise is the girl in the walls.  Eddie, Marshall and their parents occupy the same house. Elise is hidden away and the family don’t know she is there until things strange things start to happen in the house. From the description I was anticipating a gothic thrilling read, however, this is not what I found myself to be reading.  I found the story slow paced and only picked up about two thirds of the way through, the ending also left me with some unanswered questions. One positive which I can take from this is the development of the relationship between Marshall and Eddie and watching the change in the dynamic is sweet and heartwarming.
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When I first discovered this book, I had such high expectations and couldn't wait to read it. I was drawn in by words like 'gothic' and 'suspenseful,' and the creepy shadow cover. When I started reading, I realised the book content was not as I initially anticipated but still hoped to love it. Unfortunately, I just didn't.

The story centres around Elise, a young girl who, following the death of her parents, escapes her guardians and returns to the families old home. There she finds her place in the walls of the old house while a new family lives on the other side. The two boys hear things and are convinced the old house is home to more than just their family and decide to act on that instinct. 

I liked Elise as a character and felt sorry for the situation she was in - alone, untethered, and grieving for the family she had lost. She couldn't make contact with the new family although she desperately wanted to be accepted. I didn't feel attached to any other character and was bored by their daily meanderings. I wasn't a fan of the story which didn't really go anywhere and I was just a bit bored, especially in the last quarter where I was ready for the book to finish. 

I think this book description needs a rewrite - in my opinion, it doesn't have the ingredients of a thriller and is much more a slow burn family saga or contemporary fiction.
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I was really intrigued by the description of this book and was so glad to receive an advance copy. It had a plot that I hadn't seen before and Gnuse really uses this to push the boundaries of plot. 

The character development of each character in this book is really detailed but subtle at times mainly with the parents who kind of float in the background of the plot. 

The descriptions of the house and what was happening genuinely made me feel as though I was there in the house and I would find myself tense whilst reading also trying not to make a noise as though I was in the walls and didn't want to be discovered. At times, the plot felt a little far fetched which drew me out of the magic because Gnuse for the most part makes it seem very believable that someone could be living in our crawl spaces and watching us 24/7..

I would really recommend this book to all who like twists and turns and thrilling reads.
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I thought this was a great premise and I loved how atmospheric it was, but I felt that it really lost its way after a while. I hate book club questions and author interviews in the back of books and these were particularly annoying - it discussed Trouse and what a great bad guy he was, but I found him cliched, one dimensional and unrealistic. 

Ultimately, I found myself wondering what the point of the whole thing was. There's definite talent here, but it needed a sharper focus.

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC without obligation.
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I don’t know what I was expecting when I requested this gothic thriller but I did find it captivating. A beautifully written, stunning story. Definitely one to read.
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'Girl in the Walls' is way different than I thought. I think it's partly my fault for expecting a gothic tale, but the book reads more like a literary fiction, in which we folow a girl dealing with grief and loneliness. It misses any creepy or ghostly atmosphere for me. Though the novel offers an interesting entry to the story, it misses the intrigue. The way the story is told also feels unorganized due to the very short chapters and ultimately couldn't hold my interest.
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Girl in the Walls is an interesting piece of literary fiction that wasn't what I expected from the blurb nor from my own preconceived ideas about what a thriller is.

When I first started the novel, I was wondering whether this is going to go either the way of The Others or The Boy. As it turns out, it was neither. I haven't read anything like this before, and thought the author did a great job of making you feel quite claustrophobic and on edge, just like you imagine Elsie would be feeling. I did find that I needed to suspend quite a bit of belief whilst reading, which isn't a bad thing nor unusual to me as I read quite a bit of fantasy, however the suspension of belief wasn't in the area of which I thought it would be.

I did find the inclusion of Traust to be quite out of the blue and while I understand the ultimate purpose of the character, it ... didn't really click for me.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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A stunning piece of writing as well as a hugely enjoyable story, this book is an absolutely essential read. The story begins with Elise, returning to the house she lived in with her parents before they were killed in an accident. She hides herself in the walls and crevices of the building, snatching food where she can and existing around a new family who live there now. Gradually the children of the house - sixteen year old Marshall and thirteen year old Eddie - realise that someone, or something, is inside the walls and turn to online forums for help. They end up inviting in a monster more terrifying than anything they could have imagined from the girl in the walls. 
The characterisation, setting and description in this title are all spot-on, drawing the reader completely into the world-building and plot.. What at first seems a slightly outlandish set-up quickly becomes believable, with references to real-world cases of people finding others hiding in their houses. A literary thriller with a fantastic denouncement, this is highly recommended for all libraries.
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I requested this book as I found the blurb really intriguing but once I read it it just didn’t quite give me the excitement I’d expected. 

It was a good story and had a creepy feeling to it. 

I read a lot of thrillers so maybe I was comparing to others I’ve read. 

Unfortunately this didn’t quite hit the market for me
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This is like no other book I have read before, a girl, Elise is orphaned but she finds her way back to her parent’s house after running away from foster care. The house is now occupied by another family, the Masons.
 She feels safe there and it’s an old house with lots of hidden areas behind the walls. That is where Elise decides to live, like a ghost.

As the book goes on it gets quite terrifying when someone visits the house while the Masons are away agreeing to investigate it.
I really enjoyed reading this, it was slow to start but building up to be a good paced book. I must admit as I read, I had mixed emotions throughout, sadness, happiness, shock and fear. It was written very well and I look forward to reading more from this author.
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Girl in the Walls has a super interesting concept and I loved the gradual unravelling of Elise’s situation, but for me this book fell a little short when the plot took off. Personally, I found the first part of the book more interesting and likeable than the action-packed second. It helped to read the author's note to reevaluate some of the events and characters' motivations. Without it I would have felt completely lost. 
My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me the chance to read the eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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3.5 stars

I'm in two minds about this book. 

I enjoyed it but it wasn't what I was expecting at all. It is pitched as a gothic novel but I just didn't get those vibes at all. It is the tale of loss, survival, acceptance, family, friendship & what makes a home. I was hoping for tension, darkness, chills and thrills but it didn't really have that. There were a couple of decent twists, a good bad guy to rally against & Elise, our main character, is good if a little frustrating. 

It's a slow & steady story with the main action coming in the final third, I was engaged enough to keep reading despite the shift in what I was expecting genre wise. A lesson in never judging a book by its cover, or its blurb apparently.
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This book was such a different read and I loved it. The author really brought Elise to life with her unusual lifestyle. Quite emotional and with really great characters.. 4/5
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I found this book to be very confusing.  It was a struggle to keep reading and, sadly, I gave up. Not like me to not finish but I just couldn't keep going.
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An old house & a secret inside- sounded intriguing. I wanted to read this because it seemed a really interesting idea. I began to read expecting something gothic & creepy. Unfortunately it did not live up to expectations. I found the juxtaposition of the premise with the present day jarred. The pages of description with no interaction was difficult. I kept picking this one up & putting it down until finally decided that this one was not for me. Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read & reviw this book- I wish it had been the story I hoped for.
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This was a captivating and very original story that certainly kept us thinking about numerous superstitious anomalies, which was the true one? It is sometimes believed that memories are stored within walls, particularly in older houses and buidings so perhaps ghosts are resident there too. You really had a lot to think about and were forced to throw away any beliefs about an afterlife, real or imagined when reading,this book. Children are supposedly more attuned and open to the paranormal, maybe because their minds are not cluttered with the everyday trivia of adults and their belief system is not yet tainted.
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I didn’t think this was a gothic thriller to be fair but I enjoyed it all the same, a unique storyline and book and I thought it was pretty good, sad in parts but beautifully written and one I’d recommend to others.
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